Revealing a Benefactor story at Tjong A Fie Mansion

Sumatra Money Museum and Tjong A Fie’s House are only three blocks away and pass a large intersection which separates Pemuda Street where the museum is located and Jenderal Ahmad Yani Street where the house is located.

Security: “Hey, brother. Why do you capture photos of this building?”, his left hand is on his waist, his right hand hold a T-stick.

Me: “Oh, that’s sir….The building is nice, really classic“, bent down as a sorry.

Security: “Oh yeah, that’s great … I didn’t realize it“. Saying while standing on my right side led to the same building.

Me: “Sure, Sir….You who has worked here for a long time, just realized that” while holding a laugh in my chest.

I thought he will take my camera and erased the picture in it…. Apparently no, hahaha.


That house gate is so small and I had a little bit passed it. I turned and slowly walked toward it.

My bad habit: silence for a long time in the courtyard and even didn’t blink.

Young staffs who on duty at ticket desk were watching me from terrace. They were glad to get a guest. Some time later, I realized that they were waiting me.

Staff: “Sir, you can keep your backpack here. The house is spacious, you will be tired“.

Me: “Thank you honey Ms, I put it here….Is it safe?”.

Staff: “I’ll take care, Sir….You don’t need to worry”.

Me: “Take care of my heart too….Thanks Ms”.

OK….Let’s start to entering Tjong A Fie Mansion.

A multicultural figure from Guangdong.

Do you know about Tjong A Fie?….He is a Chinese descent resident who in his life became a rich trader and became an important figure in Medan because of his generosity in building Medan city in his era. He worked hand in hand with Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah to develop city economy. At that time, Deli was famous worldwide with its high-quality tobacco, and even Deli was dubbed as Dollar Landsh (Dollar Land).

The beauty of his 120-year-old house is truly eye-catching. Has four guest rooms with different concepts to receive guests from different communities.

The yellow dominant living room is for receiving guests from Deli Sultanate as Malay community.
Chinese descent guests are welcome here.
This room is to receive guests from Dutch government.

I was fortunate to meet two visitors from Aceh who used a tour guide services. Seeing me when visiting it alone, Mr. Syaiful smiled and waved to me and then invited me to join with them. “Come on, brother, come here!“, he lightly said. How lucky is my fate.

Tjong A Fie was so rich, many of his home furnishings were imported from Europe such as safes, ceramic decorations or ovens in his kitchen.

The dining table was ever used to entertain Deli Sultanate family in Chinese New Year celebration.

Next exploration showed photos of the entire Tjong A Fie family, which consist from 21 family members. The photo was taken during his 60th birthday celebration in early 20th century.

A bed made from classic carving woods with white mosquito nets.

An orange kitchen wall with three wood-burning stoves next to a separate room with two flour stone-grinders and one rolling pin with similar material.

A hall which contains a row of family history photos.

In other side, I found a Tjong A Fie family tree, some photos of important buildings in the city which were built with his funds (such as Gang Bengkok Old Mosque, Sipirok Old Mosque and even Al Mashun Grand Mosque in downtown), as well as a photo of Kesawan Bank Commissioner which was founded by Tjong A Fie.

A high windows with a dominant number make the house so spacious.

Tour guide said that during President Soeharto era, the state acquired Tjong A Fie’s plantation and merged into state’s plantation ownership i.e PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

End of my visitation in Tjong A Fie Mansion. His house gate is seen from 2nd floor.

See the Tjong A Fie Mansion situation here:

Attaching a Signature at the Sumatra Money Museum

I began to walk at exit path of Sri Deli Park.

My steps were so harmonious with my index finger pressure on camera to capture the best images along Sisingamangaraja Street.

Red motorcycle suddenly got off from asphalt and its brake pounding threw dust which made me momentarily cover my nose. A face which was hidden behind helmet turned towards me while waving. I paused while thinking what was happen. A little suspicious, I stepped up to him while keeping a safe distance.

He : “Sir, don’t carry your good camera like that. There are a lot of thieves here. Just keep it!“, speaking after slowly taking off his helmet.

Me: “Oh, thank you sir….Okay sir”, I relieved replied

He: “Be careful, Sir. Assalamualaikum

Me: ”Wa’alaikumsalam Sir”. Good people are always around me.


Strong despite being old.

I was stunned under Tirtanadi Water Tower while sitting and putting my backpack next to a tree trunk to protect myself from the sun’s heat. Then I filled my bottles with free drinking water in front left of PDAM (the name of water company) Tirtanadi office.

Worried that the dusk which had been queueing to present, I fastly stepped to Tjong A Fie’s house. Passing a railroad crossing and then entering Pemuda Street, I accidentally passed a roll up banner which its titled “Sumatra Money Museum“.

See the way toward Sumatra Money Museum here:

Maybe just need about 30 minutes to explore, stop by for a moment!“, inwardly whispered teasing me. Without argumentation, now, I have been speaking with Miss L – a sweet young woman in a sky blue scarf – as a staff and also as a museum’s tour guide. She took souvenirs in the form of two coins made by Palembang Sultanate with a hole in its middle which was neatly wrapped while giving a piece of green paper as size as a ticket with a writing “Souvenir Fee USD 0.75“.


2nd floor.

I stepped stairs and continually observed its classic building. Ms. L said, I was in “Gedung Juang ’45“. “No need to hurry, Sir. The museum closes at 5 pm“, she said with a smile.

Arriving on 2nd floor, I was treated to a view of money printing machine “Oeang Republik Indonesia Tapanoeli (ORITA)” which was used in early era of President Soekarno.


Founded 3 years ago by Saparudin Barus, this collection room became the first money museum in Sumatra. The collector’s personal intention was approved by local government after Gedung Juang ’45 was chosen as museum location. In the past, This building itself has an important role as headquarters of Barisan Pemuda Indonesia (Indonesian Youth Front) in carrying out resistance against Dutch colonial government.

In 1726, for the first time, the VOC published coins known as DOIT or DUIT.

Exploring from one storefront to another, accompanied by an explanation from Ms. L, I began to float into nation’s historical flow through coins sequence which is sorted by its using.

Indonesian coins from time to time along with Malaysian coins.

Being the only visitor that afternoon, I was willing to repeatly observe some trade exchange tools in the golden era of Srivijaya Kingdom. Or money which was made from burlap which was issued by Buton Kingdom in Sulawesi.

It’s so large, Soekarno era’s paper money!

At the end of my visitation, Miss L directed me to a long white cloth and she briefly explained that each visitor would be asked to write his impression message about the museum and ending with a signature underneath. Okay, no need to be stingy to write on the cloth. My signature scratch ended this visitation.

Museum’s storefront with many money collection from various times.

How lucky me to passing and visiting it….Let’s to next destination!

Menguak Kisah Sang Dermawan di Tjong A Fie Mansion

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Museum Uang Sumatera dan Rumah Tjong A Fie hanya berjarak tiga blok dan melewati satu perempatan besar yang memisahkan Jalan Pemuda dimana museum terletak dan Jalan Jend. Ahmad Yani dimana rumah itu berada.

Security: “Hei, Bang. Foto-foto apa, Kau?”, tangan kiri parkir di pinggang, tangan kanan mengepal tongkat-T.

Aku: “Oh, itu pak….Gedungnya bagus, klasik banget”, sedikit membungkuk  menanda maaf.

Security: “Oh iya, bagus ya….Ga nyadar saya”. Berucap sambil berdiri disisi kananku mengarah ke bangunan yang sama.

Aku: “Tuh kan, pak….Bapak sudah lama kerja disini aja baru nyadar”, sambil menahan bahak di dada.

Kirain mau merampas gambarku lalu menghapusnya….Ternyata, Hahaha!


Gerbang rumah itu begitu kecil dan sempat sedikit terlewat olehku. Berbalik badan lalu berjalan pelan mendekatinya.

Kebiasaan buruk: terdiam lama sekali di pelataran bahkan sepertinya tak berkedip.

Para staff muda penjaga meja tiket terus memperhatikanku dari teras. Senang mereka mendapatkan tamu kembali. Beberapa waktu kemudian aku sadar sedang dinanti mereka.

Staff: “Bang, tas ranselnya boleh kok dititip di sini. Rumahnya luas loh, nanti Abang capek”.

Aku: “Terimakasih Dinda Non, Saya taruh disini….Aman kan ya?”.

Staff: “Saya yang jaga, Bang….Ga perlu khawatir”.

Aku: “Jaga juga dong hatiku….Thanks ya Non”.

OK….Mari mulai memasuki Tjong A Fie Mansion.

Tokoh multikultural asal Guangdong

Tahu Tjong A Fie?….Beliau adalah warga Medan keturunan Tionghoa yang dalam perjalanan hidupnya menjadi seorang saudagar kaya raya dan menjadi tokoh penting di Medan karena kedermawanannya dalam membangun kota Medan pada masanya. Dia bahu membahu bersama Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah membangun perekonomian. Kala itu Deli mendunia dan terkenal akan tembakaunya yang berkualitas tinggi bahkan Deli dijuluki sebagai Dollar Landsh atau Tanah Dolar.

Keelokan kediaman berusia 120 tahun miliknya sungguh memikat mata. Memiliki empat ruang tamu dengan konsep berbeda dan untuk menerima tamu dari kalangan berbeda pula.

Ruang tamu dominan kuning untuk menerima tamu dari Kesultanan Deli yang asli Melayu.
Tamu keturunan Tionghoa diterima disini.
Nah ini untuk menerima tamu dari pemerintah Belanda.

Aku beruntung bertemu dengan dua pengunjung dari Aceh yang menggunakan jasa tour guide. Melihatku berkunjung sendirian, Pak Syaiful tersenyum sembari melambaikan tangan lalu mengajakku untuk bergabung.  “Ayolah dik, ikut sini biar ramai”, ujarnya ringan. Beruntung sekali nasibku ini.

Saking kayanya, banyak perabot rumah tangga miliknya yang diimpor dari Eropa seperti lemari besi, hiasan keramik atau oven yang berada di dapurnya.

Meja makan yang pernah digunakan untuk menjamu keluarga Sultan Deli dalam perayaan tahun baru China (Imlek).

Eksplorasi berikutnya mempertontonkan foto keseluruhan keluarga Tjong A Fie yang terhitung berjumlah 21 anggota keluarga. Foto itu tampak diambil pada saat perayaan ulang tahunnya yang ke-60 di awal abad-20.

Tempat tidur berbahan kayu ukir klasik dengan kelambu putih.

Dinding dapur berwarna oranye dengan tiga lubang tungku berbahan bakar kayu bersebelahan dengan ruang terpisah dengan dua buah penggiling tepung berbahan batu dan satu buah rolling pin dengan bahan yang sama.

Aula berisi deretan foto perjalanan keluarga.

Disisi lain, aku menemukan family tree keluarga Tjong A Fie, beberapa foto bangunan penting kota yang dibangun atas bantuan dana darinya (seperti Masjid lama Gang Bengkok, Masjid lama di Sipirok bahkan Masjid Raya Al Mashun), juga foto komisaris Bank Kesawan yang didirikan oleh Tjong A Fie.

Jendela yang tinggi dengan jumlah dominan menjadikan rumah begitu luas.

Tour guide bertutur bahwa pada masa orde baru, negara mengakuisisi perkebunan Tjong A Fie dan dileburkan ke dalam kepemilikan PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

Akhir petualangan di Tjong A Fie Mansion. Gerbang rumahnya dilihat dari lantai 2.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Menggores Tanda Tangan di Museum Uang Sumatera

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Aku mulai menapaki  jalur keluar Taman Sri Deli.

Langkahku begitu harmonis dengan tekanan telunjuk untuk mengabadikan gambar-gambar terbaik di sepanjang Jalan Sisingamangaraja.

Bebek Merah” tiba-tiba turun dari aspal dan hentakan remnya melempar debu yang membuatku sesaat menutup hidung. Muka yang tersembunyi di balik helm itu menoleh ke arahku sembari melambaikan tangan. Aku terdiam sambil berfikir ada apakah. Sedikit curiga, aku melangkah kepadanya sembari menjaga jarak aman.

Si Bapak: “Bang, jangan nenteng kamera bagus seperti itu. Disini banyak jambret. Disimpan saja!”, berbicara setelah perlahan melepas helmnya.

Aku: “Oh, terimakasih pak….Baik pak”, Jawabku lega.

Si Bapak: ”Hati-hati ya Bang. Assalamu’alaikum”.

Aku: ”Wa’alaikumsalam pak”. Orang baik selalu ada di sekitarku ternyata.


Gagah walau tua.

Aku tertegun dibawah Tirtanadi Tower sembari duduk dan menaruh backpack di sebelah batang pohon untuk berlindung dari panasnya surya. Kemudian aku mengisi kedua botolku dengan krain air minum gratis di kiri depan kantor PDAM Tirtanadi.

Khawatir senja yang sudah mengantri hadir, aku kembali melangkah menuju ke kediaman Tjong A Fie. Melewati persimpangan jalur kereta api lalu masuk ke Jalan Pemuda, tak sengaja aku meewati roll up banner bertajuk “Museum Uang Sumatera”.

Kiranya cukup 30 menit, mampir sebentar!”, bisik batin menggodaku. Tanpa perlawanan argument, aku kini sudah bercakap dengan Nona L -perempuan muda manis berjilbab biru langit- sang penjaga merangkap tour guide museum. Dia mengambil souvenir berupa dua uang koin buatan Kesultanan Palembang dengan lubang di tengah yang di wrapping rapi sekaligus memberikan selembar kertas hijau seukuran tiket bertulis “Biaya Souvenir Rp. 10.000”.


Lantai 2.

Aku menaiki tangga dan terus mengamati bangunan klasik itu. Kata Nona L, saya sedang berada di Gedung Juang ’45. “Ga perlu buru-buru, Bang. Museum tutup jam 5 sore kok”, selorohnya menjelaskan lewat senyuman.

Tiba di lantai 2, aku disuguhi pemandangan berupa mesin cetak Oeang Republik Indonesia Tapanoeli (ORITA) yang digunakan pada masa awal pemerintahan Soekarno.


Didirikan 3 tahun lalu oleh Saparudin Barus, ruang koleksi ini menjadi museum uang pertama di Sumatera. Seakan niat pribadi sang kolektor diamini pemerintah daerah setelah Gedung Juang ’45 dipilih sebagai lokasi museum. Gedung ini sendiri mempunyai peran penting sebagai markas Barisan Pemuda Indonesia dalam melakukan perlawanan terhadap pemerintah kolonial Belanda.

Tahun 1726 untuk pertama kali VOC mencetak uang koin yang dikenal dengan nama DOIT atau DUIT.

Menjelajah dari etalase satu ke etalase yang lain diiringi dengan penjelasan dari Nona L, aku mulai hanyut dalam aliran arus sejarah bangsa melalui urutan koin yang diurutkan berdasarkan masa digunakannya.

Koin Indonesia dari masa ke masa beserta koin Malaysia.

Menjadi satu-satunya pengunjung di siang itu, aku rela mengulang kembali untuk mengamati beberapa alat tukar perdagangan pada era keemasan Kerajaan Sriwijaya. Atau kertas berbahan goni yang dikeluarkan kerajaan Buton di Sulawesi .

Duh lebar banget sih, uang kertas era Soekarno !

Di akhir kunjungan, Nona L mengarahkanku pada kain panjang berwarna putih dan dia menjelaskan singkat bahwa setiap pengunjung akan diminta sukarela menuliskan pesan kesannya tentang museum dan diakhiri dengan bubuhan tanda tangan dibawahnya. Oke lah, tak perlu pelit untuk menulisi kain itu. Goresan tanda tanganku mengakhiri kunjungan wisata edukasi kali ini.

Etalase museum yang kaya koleksi uang dari berbagai masa.

Beruntung sekali melewat dan melawatnya….Yuks, lanjut!

Kisah Selanjutnya—->